A while ago, a friend of mine told me: “I am not beautiful”. She wasn’t fishing for compliments. She said this matteroffactedly. And while, I do see beauty in her, I also see where she’s coming from. She doesn’t look like the ideal and it doesn’t bother her. Why should it? Sure being conventionally attractive can open a few doors (and comes with its own set of challenges), while being seen as ugly can really hinder you in life. But most of us fall out somewhere in-between. And attractiveness is a highly relative thing.
That is something that bothers me with the body positive movement and with that infamous Dove campaign. I appreciate that it’s a nice feeling to like what you see in the mirror and I get that beauty comes in various sizes and shapes, but at the end of the day, I don’t find everybody beautiful. I’m not a big meanie and I don’t go around telling those people that I find unattractive that they are unattractive to me. I’m also not bothered by the idea that some people might find me plain, as long as they are polite about it. Sure we can redefine beauty to see it as more than skin-deep, but I don’t see why the fact that “Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful” should be seen as such terrible news. I wouldn’t use the word “beautiful” to describe myself in a survey and I don’t think that makes me any lacking or unworthy. In fact, I consider myself a pretty confident person. Perhaps in part because I don’t subscribe to the notion that my worth equals my appearance.
In short, there is a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way. Instead of trying to reassure women that they are pretty, maybe we could shift the focus on reevaluating the importance of prettiness in the first place.